04-27-2004, 12:08 AM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- In heels
Bellyflop contestant feared Dead
A Beloit man is presumed dead after a belly flop contest in the Rock River turned tragic Saturday.
Rescue crews from both sides of the state line spent the weekend searching the river for Dorl Gates, 52, of Beloit. Gates' body had not been found as of press time this morning, and the search was set to resume at noon, according to Town of Beloit Fire Chief Joe Holomy.
``We'll be back out there today,'' Holomy said. ``We're still working on it.''
According to information released by the Rock County Sheriff's Department, Gates was one of several men participating in a ``World Belly Flop Contest'' sponsored by Diamond Jim's Bar, 6530 S. Highway 51.
Three men had jumped about 20 feet from a bridge into the cold water Saturday shortly after 4 p.m., then Gates jumped. Witnesses told police the man surfaced briefly a few times, but was washed downstream by the river's current.
``He came up more than three times,'' said William Gifford, who was waiting for his turn in the contest. ``Then he went under and they couldn't find him.''
Gifford, of Janesville, said the contest was supposed to take place at the dock behind Diamond Jim's, but the other men decided to jump from the bridge.
Divers from three agencies searched and dragged the river for the man's body Saturday afternoon. They searched until dusk Saturday, then returned about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Rocky County Sheriff's Lt. Russ Steeber said.
The river is very cold and it has a strong undertow, Lt. Michael Mugnani said.